The loss of a baby is a sad reality for many families. As many of us know, the grieving process has multiple layers that take patience, love, and support to go through. Please know that you are not alone that there is support for you and that it is okay to heal the way you need to heal. If you or someone you know has experienced pregnancy loss or infant loss we hope this featured story serves you well.
Allie’s Pregnancy Loss Story
While miscarrying my baby, I attended a wedding shower. It was an out-of-body and mind experience to witness two individuals on the verge of becoming one while I, with my baby tucked inside, became two.
Did you know October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month or that October 15th is a day set aside to remember our babies? My name is Allie Demes and I’m a birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula and childbirth educator serving the Sarasota area. I dove headfirst into the world of birth, no matter the outcome, upon delivering my fourth (chronological) baby far too early in my living room with my husband present. I am 1 in 4.
During this national “holiday”, I want to address the elephant in the room that is likely tucked within every mama’s story of loss, woven somewhere within the fibers of her heart. Fear. Along with grief, it can sometimes feel like fear follows you everywhere. Fear can be looming down the baby aisles at Target, popping its head out in between the onesies and bassinets; it can rear its ugly head in subsequent pregnancies, leading to additional stressors, sleepless nights, and added trauma. Fear can follow you into each menstrual cycle as you’re trying to conceive; it can be found in your shoulders as they shake and in your tears as you mourn what could have been and had been hoping for. Fear can entertain itself quite nicely if we allow it.
But here’s the kicker mama’s…we don’t have to allow it. I’m going to give you three truths and my hope is that they’ll help you find PEACE in any circumstance. You’re so worth it.
THREE TRUTHS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS:
- You held your baby every single day of their lives. They were comforted and fed, warm and cozy; they had no need that went unmet. You held them and loved them every single day of their lives. I hope you find comfort in this.
- Rainbows aren’t just reserved for babies. Rainbows can be found in a renewed sense of self; your rainbow may be beaming through a restoration within relationships, either with your Maker or your partner. Was your heart set on fire for something? That’s a rainbow. Perhaps you’ve pivoted down another career path or maybe it’s as simple as finding a new habit that fills your soul with gratitude. They’re all rainbows and they’re all worthy of noting and celebrating.
- The grief you feel that may lead to fear? You don’t have to look at it as though it’s haunting or hunting you down. You have all the permission in the world that you need to change your mindset when it comes to grief and fear. Grief, with fear behind it, is an expression of love with nowhere to go. Grief rests within your heart and stays, never being released unless you experience mourning or gratitude. I challenge you to express gratitude each time your grief or fear arises; look at those clothes in the baby aisle and thank your baby for showing you how to love and love well. Look at your pregnant friend and thank your baby for reminding you how wanted she was and is. Then, look at your grief and discern what it’s telling you that you need. Do you need to slow down? Rest? Confide in a friend? Time and space to process? See a counselor? Chat with a bereavement doula? Do it. Your peace is just on the other side, waiting for you to scoop it up and put it on.
My hope for you this October is that you really are happy we live in a world where there are Octobers – even if they carry the name Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and even if you can identify with those terms in a way that you never envisioned or thought you would. I dream of Octobers when women who have experienced loss find peace and solace; they find rest in knowing they loved their babies and loved them well; they find hope in seeing them again someday. Here’s to peace. You are loved and so worth it.
Allie Demes is a birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula, as well as a childbirth educator, in Sarasota, FL. She serves Sarasota and Manatee counties and believes that all births, no matter the outcome, are beautiful and worthy of praise and that shame doesn’t belong in birth stories or spaces. She is married to her best friend and has three living children whom she homeschools and wants nothing more than to help other mothers cultivate seeds of hope to help them bloom. You can connect with her on Instagram: @alliedemes.doula or on Facebook, @alliedemes,doula.
If you have any questions or concerns about the topic of pregnancy and infant loss or any other health-related topic we are here for you. At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we are here to help you through all stages of your life and with any concerns you may have about your reproductive health.